For this article, I’ve searched the internet for the very best to bring you the top 10 best security tips for your computer system.
It’s not expected that you know them all, but knowing at least some or most will ensure your computer is in a much better place while you’re using it, whether online or offline:
- Avoid Unsure Downloads
You should always be on the lookout when downloading screensavers, freeware, games and other programs. Websites and internet newsgroups may also carry a potential threat, so be sure to scan everything that you download before you run it. You may find that it’s easier for you to download all your content to a single folder, that way you can just scan that single folder containing everything.
- Keep Software Up-To-Date
Ensuring that all your software and the operating system is up-to-date is very important. You should always be installing the latest security updates:
- Make sure Automatic Updates is turned on.
- Use the most notable web browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, as they are frequently updated.
- Make sure all your browser plug-ins are up-to-date.
- Use specialized software to find out which software on your computer requires an update.
- Control Who Has Access to the Computer
Never leave your computer in an area that’s public or unsecured, especially if the system is logged in. Your systems physical security is equally as important as its technical security.
- Don’t Automatically Open Attachments in Emails
This may seem fairly obvious, but it’s important to note. You want to ensure that your email manager doesn’t automatically open your messages and/or download attachments, so check its settings.
- Install Anti-Virus Software
You want to install the best antivirus software around and ensure it’s always kept up-to-date with the latest virus definitions. The best scanners are capable of scanning your files on the fly, in the event that something unusual gets onto your system. Security software is by far the most important step to securing your computer.
- Protect Confidential Data
Be sure to protect all the sensitive data that is present on your computer. In general, however, there are several rules that you can or should adhere to, if you want to ensure you’re never the victim of identity fraud, these are:
- Keep all your confidential data off your laptop, mobile device and workstation.
- All sensitive data that is no longer of use should be immediately erased from your computer.
- When transmitting or storing sensitive information, you should always use encryption.
For encryption, there are many built-in tools that you can use to do that.
- Back Up Your Data
You want to regularly back up your data. If you’re ever the victim of some security incident, the most effective way of repairing your system is by reinstalling everything – something that is only possible if you have backups.
- Use a Firewall
Both Windows and Mac-based systems use desktop firewalls in order to protect the system from hackers. You’ll want to ensure that these programs are enabled and properly configured.
- Protect System Bootup
You want to ensure that your antivirus program is configured to launch automatically during system boot up, that ways your computer will receive immediate protection.
- Use Good Password Management Software
Most of us have a ton of different passwords that we must manage, which is why we can fall into the trap of taking short-cuts, like using the same password over and over. However, when you use a password management program, it can help you maintain tons of strong passwords for all of your accounts. These programs are also capable of generating passwords for you, entering your login credentials and reminding you to change your password from time to time.
There are quite a few password management tools that you can use, some of which are free, others are paid; you need to decide for yourself which one is best for you.
Here are a few password tips that you may want to keep in mind:
- Use long passwords, no less than 20 characters at best.
- Use a mix of different characters, and never use the same password twice.
- Never share or write your password down, especially not on a service where it may be accessed or read.
- Periodically update your passwords; at least twice a year is probably best.
These are just some of the things you should keep in mind, using special characters in your passwords is also a good choice, however, the support of these characters does tend to vary, so keep that in mind.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website compuchenna.co.uk